View Full Version : NFT: Shopping for and preparing a great steak

Archie F. Swin
10-04-2002, 01:53 PM
I bought my grill early in the summer thinking that the most common thing I would lay upon it would be a beautiful slab o' beef. Turns out of all the things I've prepared over the past months, I've had the least amount of success with steaks. I love steaks. If a restaurant serves me a great steak they have a customer for life. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I had an amazing steak at, of all places, Red Lobster. I was stunned. It was incredible!

Anywho . . . I want to become my own best customer. I was wondering when you guys shop for steaks what you look for and what you avoid. Have you had success with a particular thickness? I'm a big fan of strip steaks, because of the portion size and the relative quality.

Also, to you set your grill close to the coals or do you allow some distance? One flip or several ? Cook times?

~Willing to learn

10-04-2002, 01:59 PM
I look for good red/thick cuts with a slight bit of marbleing. As far as cooking goes, Ive found it works best when you get the grill hot to sear both sides for about a minute and a half each rotating the steak 45 degrees after the first minute to get the 'cross hatch' effect.

I try to make sure that before I set the meat while the grills hot to make sure to turn it down so that the grill will cool to medium/low heat for cooking. Once the sides are seared it locks in the juices...

3-5 minutes each side cook time, but it's really about how thick the steaks are, and I flip about every minute or two being careful not to burn a side.

Steaks are definately trial and error...my nemisis is fish.

Baby Lee
10-04-2002, 02:02 PM
1. Good marble in the steak
2. Thick cut
3. Coals as hot as hades
4. Whatever your baste or rub, get just a hint of sugar in there for caramelization.

10-04-2002, 02:04 PM
cant tell you much on picking the meat, but i do know you have to drink beer while you're grilling/smoking to monitor cooking time.

steaks = 3beers(4 if cooking well done)
pork chops = 2 beers
smoked turkey = 12pack


10-04-2002, 02:06 PM
First of all you have to have a good piece of meat. Grocery stores carry sh!t now (at least here) and to get prime I have to go to a butcher. Most of our prime cuts are exported at this point with the majority of it going to Japan.Cooking time and closeness all depends on how hot your coals are. You usually want it hot especially at first to sear the meat. I even throw mine in a frying pan on both sides in butter and olive oil for 2 minutes on each side to sear it and keep the juices in. Make sure it's hot before you put the meat in. Always pick a thick piece of meat. Rib Eye's are my favorite. Lastly DO NOT overcook. There is nothing worse than seeing someone ruin a good piece of meat. The flavor is in the fat so if you cook your steak until it is brown throughout you have just killed it. Good luck

10-04-2002, 02:06 PM
There are a couple of lessons I've learned over the years that have served me well.

1. When you really want to do it up right, buy the meat behind the counter, not the pre-packaged stuff.
It costs a little more, but IMO, it's worth it.

2. Make sure the fire is HOT. REAL HOT!
That way, when you first throw the meat on, it will sear in the juices.
Flip it over after about 2 minutes and reduce the heat.

8-10 minutes per side and walla. You've got steak. Juicy and delicious.

10-04-2002, 02:08 PM
I'm spoiled.

We hand select calves born on my dad's farm, wean them with no growth hormones, and put them on corn full feed and protein with alfalfa for 120 days.....and take them to the locker.

3 go to the locker in 3 weeks and I'll have a freezer full of huge t-bones, stips, and big-azz Ribeyes.

Good stuff doesn't need anything other than cooked to medium rare.

I've tried several rubs, and marinades.....and haven't found anything I didn't like yet. I always add a half can of beer, and can cut them with a fork when i'm done.

Haven't purchased beef at the store for years.

10-04-2002, 02:09 PM
Steak type: ribeye steak, bone-in (I love the fat to meat ratio on these cuts)

Headsnap started a recipe thread a few months ago which I'm having trouble finding, but BigOlChiefFan had a steak rub seasoning combination listed in there that's killer -- I think it had salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and thyme; I just can't remember the relative amounts in the recipe.

10-04-2002, 02:38 PM
Hereford House serves some of the best steak in KC (imo) and they will ship meat all over the country...


Seems to me the best way to insure you get the best cut of meat...

10-04-2002, 02:39 PM
The other guys have given you most of the best tips. But I still have a few tricks up my sleeve that I haven't seen here yet.

Fire = HOT (charcoal should have white ash all over)

Clean and oil the grill before you put it over the fire.

Buy the best steaks you can find. If you're in KC, buy 'em at McGonigles @ 79th and Ward Parkway, they still dry-age their own beef. Look for dry aged Prime beef.

Sear and rotate for 'crosshatch marks' as above. Use tongs, don't use a fork.

Open a bottle of zinfandel, cabernet or syrah half an hour before you plan to eat (I really recommend Hedges CSM). Leave the cork out so the wine can 'breathe'.

Pat the steak dry with paper towels, brush the steak with olive oil on both sides and use a pepper grinder to crack fresh pepper over both sides. Sprinkle with Montreal steak seasoing. Hit this with the heel of your palm a few times to make the fresh peppercorns & coriander etc... in the seasoning stick to the meat. I don't put salt on the steak until it comes off the fire.

chop up 2 cloves of garlic, mix this with a stick of fresh room temp softened butter and 1 teaspoon of thyme in a bowl, cover and refridgerate.

Let the oiled and seasoned steaks sit out at room temp for 20-30 minutes while you build fires, chop garlic, make other ingredients, etc...you want it room temp when it hits the grill, not cold from the fridge. (this is a tip for chops and other meat going on the grill as well)

Split a ripe avocado. Throw away the pit (or let your kids plant it and grow a tree) slip the halves out of their skin. Put each half on a plate of salad greens, fill the avocado cavity with chopped green onions/red onions and blue cheese. Serve with vinegarette or ceasar dressing.

buy a fresh baguette or ciabatta (a flat loaf of italian bread) the day you grill the steak. Peel a clove of garlic, rub it all over and into the bread crust until the garlic disolves. Set aside.

When the steaks are done to your taste, send them into the house on a metal platter warmed in the oven or on the grill. Put the garlic rubbed bread on the grill, using tongs turn it ever 20-30 seconds. Keep turning it until it develops a 'crispy' crust (2 minutes). Remove it and head in with the steaks.

Slice half the bread, chop off the 'heels', dice them and add to your salad as croutons.

Put the steaks on your plate and add a generous pat of the garlic/thyme compound butter to each hot steak.

Set the salad and dressing out, the rest of the compound butter and the hot garlic bread. Pour the wine or open your favorite cold beer...I like Guiness draught with steaks.

McGonigles (http://www.mcgonigles.com/)

10-04-2002, 02:44 PM
I always order my steaks from a resturaunt supply outfit called Simco. I usually get 6 boxes of steaks and another 6 of seafood for ~$300. It fills my freezer and lasts me the summer usually.

The meat is tender and has just the right marble. Exactly like in the steakhouses.

I don't get fancy with rubs and such. Salt and pepper with some worchestishire (sp?) sprinkled on. I do'em medium rare and can cut 'em with a fork usually.

Baby Lee
10-04-2002, 02:47 PM
i'm telling you guys, just the slightest hint of sugar will do wonders with the salt, pepper, garlic, Montreal or whatever.

10-04-2002, 02:56 PM
CRP, what kind of grill do you have?

Believe it or not, around here at least, I have found the best steaks at Sam's Club.:eek: , short of going to a local butcher and have him cut the meat for you, that is. The Ribeye is my preferred cut also. You want to find a steak(or steaks, it's always easier to cook similar steaks) that is at least 1" thick, and has good even marbling. On the ribeye, look for the steaks with the largest 'tail' that you can find(the tail is that strip that wraps around the filet part.)

I use just Worchestershire sauce and McCormic Montreal Steak Season(sometimes a little garlic). Put the steaks in a big zip-lock bag and pour on the marinade. Marinate for about 2 hours turning occasionally(the zip-lock makes this easy.

I am only really authorized to give tips for gas grills(not too experienced with steaks on charcoal)

I have a Weber Genesis with cast iron cooking grates(a friggin' awesome grill!) For the weber I pre-heat the grill till it is past 500 degrees(10-15 min on high). Slap the steaks on the grill and immediately turn the heat to medium(I will sprinkle a little McCormic Montreal Steak Season and Worchestershire sauce at this time, and also after the flip) For a 1" ribeye to be cooked medium it takes an equal time of five minutes per side, total of 10 min. cooking time.(no need to sear with high heat on the weber because the cast iron holds the heat and they will sear the steaks.

For a traditional gas grill,(one with the chromed steel grates) pre-heat the grill again on high for 10-15 minutes(this is very important, you will not get a good steak without a good pre-heat.) With the heat still on high slap the steaks on the grill and cook the 1st side for 3 to 4 minutes, this will create the 'sear' and seal the juices in. After the 3 to 4 minutes flip the steaks over and turn your heat down to medium-low and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes.

with about two minutes of cooking time left, I will put a little butter(the real stuff, sometimes homemade;) ) and a little basil flakes on the steaks (the restaurant touch;) ) yum!!!

If you must use a sauce with your steaks, I implore you to use A1, and not any of that other crap.:D

KC Jones
10-04-2002, 03:07 PM
To echo most people on here... you want your grill HOT.

The fewer times you flip your meat the better. I flip my steak only once.

Basically I put a little Lawry Seasoning salt on each side. Throw it on a HOT grill for 2 minutes. Flip it and cook for another 3 minutes. Then I turn down the heat and let it finish cooking for about 4-5 minutes. It's all about the thickiness of your cut and desired doneness.

I like my steak in the medium to medium-rare range.

I usualy grill strips, but I love having the occasional ribeye.

10-04-2002, 03:18 PM
-Steaks should always be grilled a short time on a hot grill.
-A good piece of beef only needs a little ground black pepper and maybe a little garlic. Marinades are good, but it masks the flavor of a good steak.
-Always try and buy your steak from a store that carries Choice or Higher (i.e. Prime) grade beef.

There are primarily 3 grades of beef in the US from worst to best are Select (grocery store crap), Choice, and Prime. Prime is extremely hard to come buy unless you are a Mortons or a country club.

If anyone is in the Lawrence, Topeka area, my wifes family has a small meat store in Lecompton, KS near lake Perry called Kroeger's Country Meats. They carry only Choice or better grade beef, mostly Choice. They will cut your steaks as wide as you want.

Pitt Gorilla
10-04-2002, 03:33 PM
I agree with headsnap's Montreal seasoning and I like Lawry's seasoned salt.

10-04-2002, 03:40 PM
Heat grill to 500 degrees. Leave on high and sear each side for about 3 minutes. If you have a 3 burner grill, shut off the middle burner and turn the other two down to medium. Putting the steaks in the middle for indirect heat grill each side for about 3-5 minutes each depending on thickness and preference.

Got these tips from my Weber grill book that came with the grill...

As for the flavor, sprinkle each side with seasoning salt, fresh ground black pepper and a little chipolte chile pepper(optional). Use the back of a spoon to smear seasoning into meat. Throw in a zip lock bag with a small amount of worcestershire sauce and refrigerate over night...

Buy a good quality NY Strip or Ribeye and you won't be disappointed.

Rain Man
10-04-2002, 03:55 PM
Has anyone ever had beef from this place in Missouri? A "friend of a friend" of mine owns it, and they have actually done quite a bit of work to develop certifiably fat-free steaks. It looks quite intriguing, even though it's a bit pricy. Check out the stats on the "healthy choice" page, too.

Fat Free Beef (http://www.fatfreebeef.com/store/1-877-NO_FAT_BEEF/difference/index.html)

10-04-2002, 04:04 PM
Steak is one place I don't mind picking up my fat. It's where all the flavor is. If I want to go lean I hit sushi.

10-04-2002, 04:14 PM
Out of curiosity...All of you mention searing the steak, as I always try to do as well...Do you close the hood while searing?...While cooking at reduced heat afterward?....

10-04-2002, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by mikey23545
Out of curiosity...All of you mention searing the steak, as I always try to do as well...Do you close the hood while searing?...While cooking at reduced heat afterward?....

You can do either...I usually sear with the lid closed but have done it both ways...If it is a thick cut I will do it with the lid closed as it can use the extra heat, if it is a thin cut then lid open is not a bad way to go.

10-04-2002, 04:22 PM
Try the frying pan approach with butter and a little olive oil and garlic. Sear on each side and then move to the grill. I swear it's the best I have had. A little trick from Mario on the food network

10-04-2002, 04:37 PM
The real key with beef is to age it. Wrap it loosely in platic wrap (to keep insects away) and let it set out at room temp for 8-10 hours before you cook it. I worked at restaurants all thru school, and this is the key to a great steak. As far as cooking it, follow the searing instructions below, and remember anything above med. rare is burnt! I personally love pittsburgh rare, where you basically sear one side until it is completely charred, and then hit the other side for about 1 minute. You get the entire gamut of flavor and texture all in one bite. Give pitt rare a try some time, you'll like it.


10-04-2002, 04:41 PM
I like to make small diagonal cuts in the steak about 1 1/2" apart forming a diamond pattern across the surface. Not too deep about 1/16" to 1/8" of an inch deep. I then rub the steak with olive oil. Then I apply seasonings and rub it into the meat and the cuts. I never use salt or salt based seasonings. I heard somewhere that salt tends to dry out meat while cooking. I like using ground peppercorns, garlic and oregano. But the seasonings are a personal choice.
I use the same procedures for searing and cooking as previously mentioned in some other posts, I also like to rotate the steak to get the crosshatch effect on the meat. I have heard that you are only supposed to flip the steak one time. So that is what I do. I will also let the meat rest before cutting into it after it is grilled. Someone also mentioned that the meat be at room temp before cooking which is what I do also.

10-04-2002, 04:45 PM
Originally posted by dtebbe
The real key with beef is to age it. Wrap it loosely in platic wrap (to keep insects away) and let it set out at room temp for 8-10 hours before you cook it. I worked at restaurants all thru school, and this is the key to a great steak.

This explains why I got food poisoning and a fuqing parasite from a restaurant steak at Texas Roadhouse a couple years ago...Thought it was going to kill me.

10-04-2002, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by Kevin
Has anyone ever had beef from this place in Missouri? A "friend of a friend" of mine owns it, and they have actually done quite a bit of work to develop certifiably fat-free steaks. It looks quite intriguing, even though it's a bit pricy. Check out the stats on the "healthy choice" page, too.

Fat Free Beef (http://www.fatfreebeef.com/store/1-877-NO_FAT_BEEF/difference/index.html)


what's the point?

athough I do like beef jerkey.

that's like fun free football!

wait, the ref's are working on that last one...

Archie F. Swin
10-11-2002, 02:37 PM

its the weekend . . time to put yous guys advice to work

Lets Get it On!

10-11-2002, 02:45 PM

Just fixed some prime cuts this week. If you can find them it's the single best thing you can do. I'll take a plain piece of prime steak unseasoned over an elaborately prepared choice piece any day of the week. Good luck this weekend.

KC Kings
10-11-2002, 02:47 PM
Who the hell was suggesting wine with steak?
Nothing but beer will do. I like Mcgonagles (sp) but I can't afford to buy from them much. "The Store" on Raytown Rd, about 3 miles south of the stadium has really good meat, and the prices aren't too high.

I like to have a bone in my steak, and prefer a T-bone. I will eat any kind though. I like to put a little butter on it, and you can't eat it well done. Medium at the most, but I like medium-rare. I actually like it as bloody as it can be without being cold, but if I eat it that rare I end up shitting it out 20 minutes later.

The new "all natural" beef is really good meat that you can get from the grovery store. My Dad works at the Price Chopper in Leawood, and he picks that up at 50% in the reduced meat section all the time. I have always heard that all natural stuff was a crock, but it does taste better, and the half price stuff isn't much more than the regular stuff.

Baby Lee
10-11-2002, 02:48 PM
The real key with beef is to age it. Wrap it loosely in platic wrap (to keep insects away) and let it set out at room temp for 8-10 hours before you cook it.
My grandma worked at Balls Supermarket in her youth and my grandpa always swore their use of ultraviolet light and aging made for the best steaks for home consumption in all of Kansas City.

10-11-2002, 02:56 PM

The "all natural" meat has to do with the way the beef is fed....Our fat cattle(butcher steers) are not injected with growth hormones, are not fed bonemeal protein(mad cow etc)...we feed Corn, hay and grass, and the protein(which is the important part...muscle growth) is all from Alfalfa.

Its kind of like "organic" only the corn/alfalfa isn't "organic" meaning that pesticides and fertilizers besides animal waste is used on the fields.

Mojo Rising
10-11-2002, 04:30 PM
I just found a site on the web that has US grown Kobe steak. Haven't tried them yet. They are $25/steak. I have never had Kobe steak before but I have only heard amazing things about it.

BD - This place is in Oakland too you don't have to have it shipped.

Here's the link


Skip Towne
10-11-2002, 04:57 PM
If you haven't had steaks "straight from the farm" like Iowanian talks about, you are really missing something. They have a slightly gamey taste that really adds flavor. After eating those, "store bought steaks" taste like they have been boiled first. Try to find a farmer who sells quarters or halves and store it in a locker plant.

The Rick
10-21-2002, 01:34 PM
Just wanted to thank everyone for the great advice.

The wife was out of town for the weekend and since she doesn't like steak very well, I figured Saturday evening would be the perfect time to try out what I learned.

So, Saturday around noon I went to the store and picked up a nice porterhouse. I let it sit on the counter the rest of the afternoon and into the evening until it was time to fire up the grill.

I followed the suggestions to a "T" on getting the grill nice and hot to sear both sides. I still have some tinkering to do with the cooking times, but the result was one of the best, juciest steaks I've ever made. Thanks again!


10-22-2004, 11:13 PM